Reprinted from February 1992
For the record, every watchmaker who has ever drawn a breath has lost a part!
Perhaps watch parts are blessed with certain mysterious powers and they can at times simply disappear into thin air. No amount of hocus-pocus can make them reappear again. On occasion, even whole watches have been known to disappear… temporarily and otherwise.
Now a woman’s intuition does, indeed, help in recovery of these watch parts, which is why most watchmakers insist that their wives work in the store with them. Let me tell you about the time RB lost his parts…
Zing! Went a tiny watch part, and you could have heard RB bellow in Mexico City.
“I’m coming!” I screamed back at him.
(Searching for lost watch parts is just one of the more exciting duties of a watchmaker’s wife, and believe me, the wife of no other tradesman can enjoy such adventurous experiences.)
“Hurry up!” RB kept yelling. “I can’t move. It flew up and hit me in the chest. I felt it. It’s got to be somewhere on my clothes. Oh, for Pete’s sake Martha, look faster!”
He was becoming panic stricken. “I’m looking dear,” I said, trying to soothe him.
“Damnit,” he snapped, “I’ve got to have that click. The watch is promised today.”
He shifted in his chair.
“Here, let me do it,” he commanded, pushing me away.
He drew back his head and with bulging eyes and crumpled chin, tried to peer inside his shirt pocket. I had to laugh.
But the elusive part was not to be found. Determined to be helpful, I suggested that it might have flown inside his shirt.
“Maybe you’re right,” he conceded. “It’s worth a try.”
He carefully undid every button and took off his shirt.
My husband’s chest is lavishly endowed with the symbol of male virility, and searching through that maze of hair for the missing watch part was no picnic, you can believe me. We didn’t find the missing click, but we felt sure we were on the right track….
So… RB unzipped his trousers and shook vigorously, hoping the part would fall out – the missing watch part.
While he was shaking his pants, I got down on my hands and knees to catch it if it hit the floor.
Well, wouldn’t you know, just about that time, in walks a customer. I jumped up off the floor, straightening my skirt, and RB beat a hasty retreat toward the back room, holding up his pants.
“I was helping my husband look for a missing watch part,” I explained to the customer, wondering all the time why I even felt I had to. She just listed her nose in a funny way and sniffed. Oh, I bet I could prove it to another watchmaker’s wife!